Ludwigia senegalensis is relatively new to aquaristics. Its interesting leaf pattern, together with its brick red colour, discerns it from other stem plants. It first became known as Ludwigia sp. “Guinea” in the hobby. Apparently it was imported from Guinea, however, this is not verified information. L. senegalensis is rather widely distributed in Africa – from Senegal to Angola to the Sambesi river in northern Sambia – and it is found emerged and submerged in various wet places up to a height of 1100 m above sea level.
When cultivated emersed, the plant develops a creeping growth habit, whereas its submersed shoots grow upright.
As breathtaking as this plant may be, it needs some things for optimal growth. First and foremost, it needs a lot of light and should thus not be placed in the shade or in poorly lit areas of the aquarium. Fertilise with around double the dosage as given by the manufacturer. Macronutrient levels should also be ample, as L. senegalensis grows to its full potential with nitrate at around 20 mg/l and phosphate at around 2-3 mg/l. If you plant in groups, don’t plant too densely, or else the plants will generally stay smaller and lose their lower leaves.
Under very much light and in a good current, the stems can be grouped closer together. Soft water seems to have a positive effect on its growth.
Even though growth conditions are optimal, its growth rate is merely moderate. However, the plant throws a great number of lateral shoots, which makes propagation very easy. It is propagated like most stem plants: Cut off shoots (top or lateral) and re-plant in the substrate.
Like so many other Ludwigia species, Ludwigia senegalensis is a breathtaking eyecatcher in an aquarium layout. It contrasts beautifully against green plants.